You Can Now Redeem Starbucks Stars At Airport Locations

While this is a pretty niche change, it does combine my love of airports with my love of loyalty programs, and is something I’ve always found a bit annoying.

With the My Starbucks Rewards program you earn two Stars per dollar spent, and then you need 125 Stars for a free reward (which can include a food or drink item). In other words, you get a free item for every $62.50 of spending. Most of us will probably redeem that for a $5 latte or food item, or something, though there are definitely people who try to maximize these redemptions (though personally I’m not sure I’d call them “aspirational”).

Anyway, one of the quirks of the My Starbucks Rewards program is that you haven’t been able to redeem your rewards at airport locations. I suspect it’s because these locations aren’t corporately owned, but rather are just licensed. Still, that’s not to say they couldn’t offer it… and now they are!

My Starbucks Rewards can now be redeemed for free drinks and food at US airports, Target, and select grocery store locations.

So while not life-changing, this is a nice development, especially since in my experience airport locations often have higher prices, making redemptions there a better value.

Now if only they’d offer mobile ordering at airport locations (though I suspect that’s less likely to happen)…

Comments

  1. Hmm, I’ve been able to redeem Starbucks Rewards at their YYZ locations for over a year. Is this just an American thing where they didn’t allow it?

  2. Airports and bookstore Starbucks locations are franchises. They are not corporately owned. I did work for Starbucks before in my younger days. So, it is a nice change. I remember when I used to work for them, as a Starbucks partner, I was not able to use my discounts at these locations since they were not corporate owned.

  3. I wonder if the Starbucks on Las Vegas Strip (not an airport or bookstore location but a stand-alone store) will now permit rewards redemptions. Last year they matter-of-factly told me they didn’t allow them!

  4. You have been able to use them in UK transport locations for a while including airports and stations even though they are franchised (mainly through a company called SSP).

    Don’t know if this is the same in the US but in the UK if you have to swipe your rewards card through the card machine the outlet is Starbucks owned but if they have to swipe it through the till then it’s a franchise.

    Now if we could use our cards globally that would be a really good thing

  5. @Endre—you can use the mobile pay feature in Canada though the exchange rate offered by Starbucks is extremely unfavorable

  6. I’ve been really ticked off that I couldn’t get my birthday freebie at various Starbucks in country and around the world. This is one of the main reasons I even have the bloody app. I’m often traveling on my birthday but the airport Starbucks says no, the hotel Starbucks says no, the grocery store Starbucks says no, the Niagara Starbucks says no. Makes me wanna say no to Starbucks, that ubiquitous mermaid bitch.

  7. Now they need to let me redeem at the five Disney World franchise locations. Only the Disney Springs West Side location is corporately owned.

  8. @Endre They do in a number of countries, like the UK. I’ve been able to use by US dollar Starbucks card balance (using the mobile app) without issues. First time I tried was well over a year ago.

  9. I used my US Starbucks card in London and it worked just fine.

    Also, many airport locations have allowed free drink redemptions for some time now (BNA, LAX, etc.) but i guess this is just a universal thing now.

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